Beat the Bulk: Add more cardio

There’s a new age wave of grunts and ferocious weight slams in the gym. They aren’t emanating from your typical sweaty, muscular guy. These sounds of hard and desired results are coming from a group of women (growing exponentially as we speak) who have also realized that they can have muscles too.

muscles

Many women are leaving behind decades old information from fitness professionals stating that cardio/aerobics is key and weight lifting creates a more masculine figure in exchange for more weights on their plates.

Every time I walk into the gym it fills my heart with joy that women are gradually abandoning the hour long, resultless workouts on the treadmill and opting to play with the big boys in the weights area.

If you know and follow me, my general style is weights, weights, weights and cardio thrown in 4 days per week. I’ll be honest…I’m NOT a cardio queen. I’m a lifting lover. Always have been, always will be.

free-weights

Over the past three months, I have attempted to up my weight lifting game in preparation for summer and a possible bikini competition. I researched what others who are in my same boat do to achieve that lean, sleek and toned feminine physique. I adapted my routines to include a little bit of everything, but mainly focusing on MORE weights than cardio.

My end results have been anything but lean. My diet for the most part is generally on point, however my thighs and upper body are looking quite hulky. I didn’t realize how much weight it looks like I’ve gained until friends, co-workers and gym members began to bluntly remind me of the elephant in the mirror (a.k.a. ME).

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Four months earlier

 

I’ve stayed the same weight plus about three pounds since January. For my petite frame, that might as well be like me wearing a fat suit. Most of this weight is the result of too many weights and not enough cardio.

Every winter I tend to fall more towards weights and less towards cardio. Winter puts me into a deep hibernation so any movement for me is considered an accomplishment. Weight training is much more convenient and less challenging to me than any kind of cardio.

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the bulky hulky thighs

Mind you, I still grin and bear the cardio part during the winter. These last few months for instance my workout weeks have consisted of: 3 days HIIT or treadmill interval runs. However I have come to the conclusion that these workouts were not pushing my limits.

I highly advise anyone who is considering following the advice of so many talking heads and fitness fanatics to balance out your cardio and weights. What tends to work for me are 4 days of running or HIIT and two MAX three days of weight training. On those two or three days I do one day of lower weights/high rep exercises and one day of higher weights/lower rep exercises.

I have found that this ratio works for my body quite well. Following a 5 day per week weight lifting schedule in my opinion is the quickest route to sideline yourself from an injury or impede your muscle build.

Women are definitely made to lift heavy, don’t get me wrong, but NOT 5 days per week.

What’s your take on weights and cardio? Do you notice a difference when you do one and not the other? Is balance important to you?

Peace, love and happy mediums!

~C.C.D.

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